Massage is the practice of applying structured or unstructured pressure, tension, motion, or vibration to the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, joints and lymphatic vessels, to achieve a beneficial response. A form of therapy, massage can be applied to parts of the body or successively to the whole body, to aid the process of injury healing, relieve psychological stress, manage pain, and improve circulation. Where massage is used for its physiological, mental, and mechanical benefits, it may be termed "therapeutic massage".
Benefits of Massage
Over-exertion during training or competing in sport can lead to an increased risk of injury or muscloskeletal problems. These can range from overworked, tight and sore muscles, strains and mild sprains to muscular pain, both acute and chronic. The deeper, more intense techniques of sports massage can help the body to overcome these problems.
Massage dilates blood vessels, which improves circulation and increases blood supply to the body’s muscles. As a result of this, the build-up of of toxins and cellular waste within the muscles is flushed out and nutrients and oxygen, which the body needs to maintain health and repair tissue, are delivered more efficiently.
As massage improves circulation and increase blood supply, it will also stimulate the release of endorphins, which acts as the body’s natural pain killer.
Improvement in Posture
Used in conjunction with other practices such as Chiropractic, massage can assist in improving posture. Repeated patterns of daily use of the muscles through poor postural habits can lead to chronic muscle tension. Studies have shown that a well planned series of treatments and corrective exercises will relieve the problems caused by chronic muscle tension.
Improvement in Muscle Tone
Muscle tension and stress can create fatigue in the body. Muscles can become fibrous and ‘stringy’ through overuse or they than can atrophy through lack of use. The use of various massage techniques can start to release this tension and stress, and stimulate the body to return to a more balanced and natural state.
Modern day lifestyles can create more and more psychological stress. This translates into muscle tightness and fatigue, and the resultant aches and pains caused by this make it very hard to relax and unwind. Gentle stretching and more subtle massage techniques can initiate a release of this tension and start the process of relaxation.
Remedial massage helps the body to overcome stiffness, tightness, fatigue, and the resultant aches and pains caused by our hectic lifestyles. By releasing the tension and stress that can build up, it stimulates the body to return to a balanced and natural state. As a consequence of this, mental stress is reduced and, this in turn, helps to create a relaxed state of alertness and calm thinking.
Sports massage is primarily used before, during and after sporting events to help the individual achieve peak performance. However, over exertion during training or competing, can lead to an increased risk of injury or musclo-skeletal problems. These can range from overworked, tight and sore muscles, strains and mild sprains to muscular pain, both acute and chronic. The deeper, more intense techniques of sports massage will help the body to overcome these problems. It can also benefit those people whose work puts their body under stress or creates postural problems and muscle soreness.
The term "myofascial" refers to muscle and surrounding fascia, or connective tissue and to help you understand how Myofascial Release works, a brief understanding of fascia is necessary.
Fascia not only surrounds the muscles and divides them into groups, but it is also major part of their internal structure. It not only connects every muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, and organ in our bodies, but also separates the body into its different compartments. It is, in fact, one continuous system that supports and attaches to all the body’s structures. So you begin to see how important fascia is in maintaining the body’s balance and natural state.
Myofascial Release is a technique that is used to free the body from fascial restrictions. Years of poor posture, injury or physical trauma and stress can produce distortions and restrictions within the fascia. It loses its suppleness, its ability to stretch and move. This can lead to abnormal movement patterns, which can lead to further postural problems, recurring injuries, pain and joint problems. By applying specific, sustained pressure into these restrictions to gently stretch and soften the fascia, normal balance and function can be restored and pain reduced.